Tusks of a giant pre-historic mastodon found in July 2007 and measuring over 15ft each, were recently put on display at a museum in Northern Greece. In addition to the tusks, scientists also found the upper and lower jaws of the creature, with some of its teeth intact.
Paleontologists believe that mastodons, ancestors of the modern elephant, roamed the continents of Europe, Asia and North America as recently as 10,000 years ago.
The animals were very similar to the wooly mammoths, except for their tusks and eating habits. The tusk of the mastodons is straighter and more parallel, as opposed to the curled ones for the mammoths. Also the blunt, cone-shaped mastodon molars (back teeth) indicate that they fed on trees and shrubs, whilst the ridged molars of the mammoths indicated that they primarily grazed on grass. The mastodons were also a lot smaller in size than the mammoths.
This find is very significant, because it is the largest remains of a mastodon ever found and also because of the great condition of the tusks. Paleontologists may finally get some clues on why these majestic animals became extinct.